(NEXSTAR) – It’s an iconic smirk – 4-year-old Zoe Roth became the face of the “Disaster Girl” meme after an image of her in front of a burning building went viral in 2005. Now 21, Roth has cashed in on her internet stardom thanks to a recent auction of the image as a non-fungible token (NFT), according to The Raleigh News & Observer.
Roth, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, was working April 17 at Italian restaurant Il Palio and checking the progress of the auction on her phone as the bids – made in the cryptocurrency Ether – neared $25,000 worth with just minutes to go, according to the paper.
The auction was set up so that the time extended each time prospective buyers made a bid within the last 15 minutes. Her father, Dave Roth, took the photo during a training exercise at a firehouse near their family home in Mebane and uploaded the image to Flickr.
The striking photo suggests a sinister story – Roth’s smile and her placement in the frame scream pre-school pyromaniac, and the image has since inspired countless dark-humored photoshop jobs. Roth’s father was also closely checking the progression of the auction. “I’m out there probably shouting expletives into the air,” Dave told The News & Observer. “Every time it would bump up, I just couldn’t believe it.”
The auction finally came to a close at 4:10 p.m. on April 17 when @3fmusic bought “Disaster Girl” sold for 180 Ether, or $486,716.40.